Do Short Birth Intervals Increase the Risk of Perinatal Deaths in sub-Saharan Africa?
Leanne Dougherty, JSI Research and Training Institute
Soumya Alva, ICF Macro
Katherine Weaver, JSI Research and Training Institute
Despite recent estimates of approximately 2.64 million stillbirths annually, three fourths of which are in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, stillbirths have been neglected by the global public health community. Neonatal mortality, especially early newborn deaths also continue to constitute a significant public health burden. Building on studies on the relationship between the duration of preceding birth interval and stillbirths in Bangladesh, this paper examines the pattern in Sub-Saharan Africa. Analyzing DHS data using event history methods, this paper examines the risk of stillbirths and early neonatal deaths in the first seven days following a live birth among women who gave birth in the five years preceding the survey in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, and Tanzania, based on the length of the preceding birth interval. Programs can then be effectively designed to provide services to women most at risk for experiencing stillbirths and early fetal death.